Oregon Wine Harvest: A Day at Penner Ash

Oregon Wine Harvest: A Day at Penner Ash

IMG_2660

A view of the vines at Penner Ash Wine Cellars

I came to wine (and drinking in general, for that matter) late in life. In high school and all through my 20s, I was straight edge — I never touched the stuff. Somewhere in my 30s, I decided I knew and trusted myself enough not to follow in the genetic line and become an alcoholic.

FUN FACT: My first official entry into the world of drinking was a shot called a duckfart in hotel bar in Vancouver, Canada. (Go Canada!)

Because I was older when I came to drinking, I didn’t go through the requisite teenage binge drinking in an effort to figure out my limits — my limits were pretty firmly in place from the beginning. This meant that as I began imbibing, I was not only interested in finding the things that I enjoyed drinking (both taste and feel) but I was also very mindful of how, whatever I was drinking, would pair with food. This kind of mindset brought me, naturally, to wine. (more…)

Chocolate Recipes: Exploring the World of Cocoa with Savory Spice

Chocolate Recipes: Exploring the World of Cocoa with Savory Spice

As any loyal reader knows, I have a thing for chocolate so when Savory Spice Shop approached the Virtual Potluck (VP) gang and we were all charged with choosing a section — I chose the baking section because Savory Spice Online has six different kinds of cocoa/cacao powder residing there.  Ah! The rich splendor of cocoa!

For the rest of this month, The Groovy Foody will be exploring the world of cocoa with a total of six recipes (one for each type) including a bevy of savory entries, because  if you haven’t experienced cocoa or chocolate in it’s non-dessert form, you’re only getting half the picture. (more…)

Mad Men Virtual Dinner Party: Shredded Pork and Shrimp Egg Rolls

Mad Men Virtual Dinner Party: Shredded Pork and Shrimp Egg Rolls

Welcome friends! Here let me take your coats, hats and pocketbooks. Please go on in, there’s plenty to eat and Don will whip you up a Martini or an Old Fashioned — you know how Mr. Draper is.

Oh, and I brought the tastiest shredded pork and shrimp egg rolls — you just have to give them a try.

You see, this Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook has got me thinking I’m on the set or better yet — back in time. Like I needed another reason to fantasize about being Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks), in her snug sweaters, fitted dresses and pencil skirts and that gorgeous head of fiery red hair. (A girl can dream, right?) (more…)

Toast the New Year with Taste-y Cocktails and Hors de ouveres

Toast the New Year with Taste-y Cocktails and Hors de ouveres

There’s something about having lil noshes on New Year’s Eve, even if you’re just staying home with the fam, that makes it all feel extra festive. In fact, most years of my life that’s what I’ve done on New Years — stayed home, noshed on little bites and watched the ball drop, kissing my sweetie at midnight.  As a woman who settled down early and took up cocktails late (I was 30! Gasp!) New Year’s Eve never meant much more than Dick Clark and banging pans. There were a few other years where I attended someone’s party or went out for dinner but it was always mostly low-key.

That is until New Year’s Eve 2006. It was the first NYE I ever spent with the love of my life, my hubby,Todd.  We were just dating at the time, but since I had settled down so young the first time around and never experienced what the nightlife and true party atmosphere of NYE could be, he decided to take me out on the town.

Pom Honey Bear (Pomegrante juice, lemon and Barenjager honey liqueur)

We went from venue to venue that night, making our rounds to all the hot spots — drinks and appetizers, dinner, dancing, dancing and more dancing. Dressed in new jeans, boots and a black blouse with sparkly trim, I felt like the hot girl, for once, no small feat for a lifelong chubby gal and bookworm. (The men must have agreed because I got picked up on all night long — even with a date!) It was as if, suddenly, I was transformed into one of those people in the movies who have something to do on NYE — and it was actually something fun! Not the party of a friend of a friend that’s supposed to be, “so awesome,” but turns out instead, to be a total dud.

Brazi Bites -- review coming soon!

The last club we went to, we stayed at for several hours. It was big, 15,000 sq ft, with a HUGE dance floor and two stories. By the time we rang in 2007, it was packed. Filled with people dancing, laughing and having a great time — just like those ultra hip club scenes in the movies set somewhere cool like Miami, NYC or LA (don’t get me wrong, I’d been dancing before, lots of places, but none were as cool and big and packed, as this place was NYE 2006-07.)

To cap it all off, when the crowd finished counting down, they released tons of confetti from the ceiling, followed by bubbles — setting the scene for the most perfect New Year’s kiss in the history of my life. We all returned to our drinks and dancing and by 2am, as the club began to thin out, I was floating on air.

A NYE staple - even the most ardent food snobs swoon in their presence

Since that night, my hubby and I have talked about doing it again, but I have to admit, the night was so perfect, that I fear trying to recapture it could tarnish the wonderful memory. For once in my life, I was the princess (in blue jeans) in my own stroke of midnight fairy tale and I loved every moment of it.

This year, my son is 3 and it will be the first year he’ll attempt to stay awake, banging on pots and squealing, “Happy New Year,” at our hopefully (fingers-crossed) wide-awake neighbors. It will be another first in my life– no less magical than that NYE I spent behaving like the hot ingenue in your favorite party movie — just different.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4uxRmZvzcw&w=640&h=360]

(Two shots of Apple Schnapps! Love that Otis!)

We’ll mix a few drinks (like the cinnamon sparkler above, whipped up by Otis over at Taste and some plain sparkling cider for the tot.) I’ll put together a few bites for us to nibble on throughout the night — some frozen and some homemade — but all delicious. We may even put on some colored wigs and dance around the living room. Tomorrow, we’ll begin again trying to be our very best selves for as long as we can, until it all unravels sometime before, this time next year.

It's a colored wig dance party!

This is the beauty of a new year– a fresh start. The chance to be your very best self — even if, for just one bright and shining moment, before the clock strikes 12.

Wishing you and yours a happy and safe 2012!